LEGO Master Builder Moko has been painstakingly working on a near 4ft tall LEGO replica of Evangelion’s Eva Unit-1 for the last 3 years. The artist finally unveiled the creation this week and the results are simply stunning. Fully articulated and containing no painted or modified bricks, the model weighs in at over 20lbs and perfectly captures the look of the Evas. Moko’s Flickr stream is full of awesome behind-the-scenes construction photos that detail just how much work actually went into this incredible creation. The scale shot of the artist standing next to Unit-01 is amazing. Check them out.
As an UI designer, I love seeing what artists come up with for fictional user interfaces. I’ve admired the work talented folks like Jayse Hansen has done for films like Iron Man and the Avengers for some time and secretly longed to do this kind of work. The latest work from Joseph Kosinski and Crater Lake Productions for the film Oblivion is pure magic. The level of detail, both animated and static, is staggering. I hadn’t intended to see Oblivion in the theater, but after seeing this wonderful work I just might. If you want to learn more, head over to GMUNK and check out their process.
I recently purchased Game of Thrones season 2 and have been trying to catch up on the series before season 3 airs on HBO. I’m reminded just how great the show’s been, but also just how frustrating some of the plot lines have been. I’m half way through season 2 as I write this and I can’t help but feel a little like the Grandson from The Princess Bride as I watch. In this scenario, I imagine George R.R. Martin as Grandpa.
“Stop Grandpa, you’re reading it wrong.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Who kills Prince Joffrey in the end? Is it Robb? Is it Sansa, who?”
“No one kills him. He lives.”
“Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read me this for!?”
I truly don’t know how Game of Thrones will turn out (no spoilers please) but I swear if Joffrey doesn’t end up with his head on a pike, I may have to hire a brute squad.
This past Tuesday, Barack Obama handily won re-election to hold his title as President of the United States. I must admit that going into the election on Tuesday I was confident but still nervous. Nate Silver’s pragmatic election forecasting had kept me calm and reasonable during the entire campaign but when CNN started showing red states populating the electoral college map, I must admit my stomach did summersaults.
We now know that Nate was right all along for as the night drew onward, the polls of the last few months bore out his math and Obama won state after battleground state. In fact the only one he lost was my own of North Carolina. While NC did go red this time around, the decision here was extremely close which honestly surprised me. In the end NC’s electoral votes didn’t matter as Barack won Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, and yes, even Florida. I must admit I did enjoy tuning in FOX News throughout the night just to see the next four years slipping away from Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Karl Rove. As Rachel Maddow pointed out this week, and as many pundits have rightfully written, Tuesday’s election results hit Team Romney, and many on the right as a complete and utter shock. For months they had deluded themselves into thinking the exit polls were wrong and that victory was the only possible result. Heck, Romney didn’t even have a concession speech ready to go. Who does that anyway? What kind of man running for the President doesn’t prepare for every eventuality? Evidently Mitt Romney, that’s who.
I face the next four years with hope and a huge sense of relief. We will not have new conservative supreme court justices. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay (thank GOD), and world leaders will continue to respect our President. Obama hasn’t been a perfect President by any stretch of the imagination. There have been many issues he’s been unwilling or unable to tackle such as immigration reform and climate change. He’s also done things I’m not proud of such as the continued detaining of prisoners without due process. But in the end his pluses far outweigh his minuses. Despite the faux outrage from the right-wing elements in our country this past week, the United States is indeed on the road to recovery. We’ve not turned into a socialist state overnight and we won’t be one tomorrow. And no, Barack Obama didn’t kill the country this past Tuesday, Nov. 6th., he actually saved it. Saved it from regressing 50 years in policy and mindset. Saved it from extremist, conservative ideology that threatened to destroy a woman’s right to choose and American’s access to affordable health insurance. And in a small way, he saved this country from the rampant racism and hate that has reared its ugly head during his first term. A vote for Obama re-affirmed that he was no fluke, he was here to stay despite the efforts of the dwindling, white majority who has tried to paint him as “different from us” and “un-American”.
I’m very proud of my President and my country for making the right choice this past Tuesday. I wish I knew what the next four years will bring, but I feel confident that Barack will meet the challenges head-on and do what’s in our collective best interests. I sincerely hope he listens to the will of those who elected him and grows a spine when dealing with Republican obstructionism, thankfully there are signs of this already. Above all, I’m grateful that we’re moving forward as a country instead of backwards, making laws instead of repealing them. I wish our President good luck and God speed because unfortunately as history has demonstrated, he’s going to need it.
Over the past few years, there’s been a significant increase in the polarization of people’s opinions in this country. More and more, folks are unwilling to put themselves in other people’s shoes, to see their side of the story or even just listen to what they have to say. Increasingly, we as a society are either unwilling or unable to compromise on important topics that affect the vast majority of us. I’m not sure where or when this started, but I do think much of it has to do with the Internet.
Since it came into wide-spread adoption, the Internet has been a way for people of widely varied viewpoints to express themselves on any number of topics. We can read, post, blog and tweet all from the comfort of our own homes and what we say is seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. More importantly, when we say something online we do so from the relative safety of digital anonymity. Although some people hide behind pseudonyms online, these days it’s more common to see people representing themselves honestly and openly. Just because they do however, doesn’t mean that we “know” them or are friends with them or even have met them in real life and I think that is an important distinction.
When we sit down and have a conversation with our family, friends or even acquaintances, we often censor ourselves for the good of our relationships. We may think someone’s opinion isn’t valid or is something we consider to be foolish, but we probably won’t tell them that to their face. Instead we often try and steer those we disagree with towards mutual understanding, we give and take, we compromise. I love my family very much but I disagree heartedly with many of their political viewpoints. When I get into a discussion about these topics with them, I don’t call my Uncle an idiot or a bozo, I calmly listen to his opinion, and if I’m feeling feisty I’ll attempt to convey some opposing viewpoints. If he listens great, if he entrenches himself and refuses to hear what I’m saying I often change the subject and move on. I love him too much to risk hurting him or his feelings and so I censor myself to some degree. I firmly believe it’s for the best.
But when I frequent political blogs and forums and told I’m an “ignorant liberal” or when I tweet about Apple’s court victory over Samsung and am called a “typical Apple fanboi”, the people that do so have no pretenses about censoring themselves. Indeed, I too am more likely to let loose when I’m exchanging ideas and thoughts with someone I’ve only met online than I would if I were sitting with them face-to-face in a restaurant or coffee shop. Yesterday, Macworld editor Dan Frakes tweeted this about Apple’s original iPhone:
When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone’s design is “obvious.”
— Dan Frakes (@danfrakes) August 25, 2012
As soon as I saw that tweet, I knew Dan was in for an earful. I had tweeted several times on Friday about the $1.01B judgement against Samsung by Apple and was not prepared for the amount of staunch anti-Apple sentiment that flowed into my Twitter timeline as a result. It seems that in platforms, as in politics, people have firmly chosen sides. You’re either with us or your against us and for some reason there can be no middle ground. I make my living using Apple products and have enjoyed them for well over 20 years so I have a strong affinity for technology that comes out of Cupertino. I also like to think that I’m fairly objective and have criticized Apple when I strongly disagree with a position they take. Sadly, some don’t see it this way. Apple is either the perfect corporate citizen who can do no wrong or a demon that is out to destroy open standards and lock all smartphone users into walled gardens manned by underage Chinese workers from Foxconn.
The reality, of course, is somewhere in-between. Apple’s victory over Samsung can be right and just in accordance with U.S. patent law but that doesn’t mean they “invented rounded rectangles”. It also shouldn’t mean that you and I can’t have a friendly discussion on the topic without it devolving into the digital equivalent of the Jerry Springer Show. Admittedly, when we are so entrenched in our positions it is difficult to give up any ground, especially when one feels passionately about something. However, if we are to survive and flourish as a society and have meaningful conversations, we all need to try and make a concerted effort to climb out of our fox holes and meet somewhere in the middle.
Aldrin took this picture of Armstrong in the cabin after the Apollo 11 EVA
Sad news today that the first man ever to set foot on the surface of the moon, Neil Armstrong, has died at the age of 82. Armstrong recently underwent surgery to relieve blocked coronary arteries but died today as a result of complications. Ever since I was a boy and first learned of he and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin’s voyage to the moon, I’ve been fascinated with all things NASA. Both his name and the famous words he spoke as he stepped off the lunar module will forever be taught to children around the world. Indeed, the name of Neil Armstrong is surely one of the most recognized in human history along with other men of discovery such as Sir Francis Drake, Christopher Columbus and Charles Lindbergh.
The historic irony is that for the last 20 years of his life, he did his best to stay out of the lime light. He refused to sign autographs after 1994 and in 2005 became embroiled in a legal battle with his barber after Armstrong discovered the man sold a lock of his hair to a collector for $3,000 without Neil’s knowledge. Many have sought to use his name, and likeness for their own personal agendas but in the end Neil remained a man of dignity and quiet restraint. I can’t imagine what it what was like for him to become one of the most famous men in history overnight, but I’m sure the pressures to live up to other people’s expectations were intense.
It is also ironic in that Armstrong might not have been first to set foot on the moon if it were not for a series of random factors that resulted in he and Aldrin’s mission being selected to actually land. There’s a wonderful scene in Tom Hanks and Ron Howard’s epic mini series, From the Earth to the Moon, where Deke Slaton gathers all of the astronauts to let them know that one of them will be the man to actually be first. Although he did not know it at the time, Neil Armstrong was to be that man. The sense of history and significance that this realization represents is incredible and if you’ve never seen the mini series before, now would be the perfect time to check it out.
Today Armstrong passes from the realm of the living into those remembered, but even as he does so, it is certain his name and deeds will never be forgotten. I hope we one day set foot in the Sea of Tranquility again or perhaps upon the plains of Olympus Mons and remember all the small steps taken by men like Armstrong. Isaac Newton famously said “If I can see further than anyone else, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants”. Armstrong was one such giant. Farewell Neil, we’ll miss you.
Fashionably Geek is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs thanks to gems like this. This wonderful silver necklace is the perfect gift for that stylish Trekker in your life. Created by the Rice Hat Samurai Studio, the necklace is an elegant graphic translation of both the Star Trek combadge and the Vulcan Idic symbol. Their Etsy shop also offers something for Doctor Who fans as well, so beam on over and scoop these prizes up before it’s too late.
[Via Fashionably Geek]
Being the huge Bigfoot freak that I am, I recently went on an expedition of discovery. This sojourn wasn’t to traverse the American Northwest in search of Sasquatch, (I would love to do that someday BTW) but to find the latest and greatest Bigfoot bling. I know there have got to be geeks like myself out there that can’t get enough of the huge, mythic ape-man and so I fired up Google and trekked off into the digital wilderness. If you have a Bigfoot fan in your life, maybe some of these items will come in handy as a future birthday, Christmas or bar mitzvah present.
• Bigfoot Air Freshener – Patterned after the big guy in the famous Patterson-Gimlin film. Personally I think it would have been much cooler to go all authentic and replicate the infamous Bigfoot stench for this one, but I guess the scent of pine trees goes over better with the ladies. [$6.95 via Amazon]
• Bigfoot Garden Yeti Statue – The promotional text for this resin garden statue of the legendary Sasquatch says visitors will do a “double take” it’s so life-like. Yes, because everyone knows Bigfoot isn’t 8-12 feet tall, he’s really just 2. Still, it’s kinda cute. One thing PR dudes, he’s either a Bigfoot OR a Yeti, not both! [ONLY $125 via Design Toscano]
• Bigfoot, the Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture – Our friends at Design Toscano are at it again, this time with a resin sculpt “Painstakingly hand-painted to make passers-by look twice” that you can hang in your favorite tree. This one looks a bit too “Planet of the Apes” for my tastes but your Bigfoot buddy will probably love it. Probably. [$69.95 via Design Toscano]
• Fisher-Price Imaginext Big Foot The Monster – What kid wouldn’t want a 14″ animatronic robot of a creature that has been known to break into houses, kill hogs and scare kitty cats to death? This adorable toy may not come with livestock accessories but he can pound his fists, walk forward and back and even does somersaults! [$74.99 via Amazon]
• Sasquatch’s Big, Hairy Drawing Book – How do we market a notepad of 120 almost blank pages to kids and parents? Easy! We’ll slap Sasquatch on the cover and watch the money roll in! Featuring “page after page of off-the-wall gags and fillin doodle prompts” Sasquatch’s Big, Hairy Drawing Book could be the ultimate discovery for that Bigfoot lover in your life, or it could be the biggest fun-time hoax of all time. Your call. [$12.95 via Amazon]
• ‘Gone Sasquatchin’ Gear – Nothing says “Hey, I’m a huge, hairy nerd!” like Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot t-shirts, hoodies and baseball caps. If you order within the next 24 hours, they’ll also throw in their Backyard Bigfoot Recipe Book. Perfect for all those redneck BBQ’s down at the ol’ swamp. [Assorted prices via DiscoveryStore.com]
• Patterson-Gimlin Film Site Track Cast – Okay, call off the hunt! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that Bigfoot fan in your life, it doesn’t get any better than this plaster replica of a Sasquatch track from Bluff Creek. Taken from one of the footprints left at the 1967 Patterson Gimlin film site, it even comes with a certificate of authenticity. I bet it’s even notarized. Seriously, who’s buying me this? [$40 via BigfootSurplus.com]
Ïve Bastrash, a Canadian-based illustrator has been busy pumping out stylish renditions of some of his favorite sci-fi, fantasy and action movie posters. The results are charming and bold and remind me a great deal of one of my all-time favorite artist’s work, Bruce Timm. Head on over to the post at DesignTaxi to see more, and then visit Bastrash’s Deviant Art page to see other work from this very talented artist. Well done sir, well done!
Being the geek that I am, there are things I would like to own and then there are things that I want. This incredible hand-crafted LEGO set of gear from Star Trek: The Original Series definitely falls into the later category. Created by master builder Tommy Williamson, the amount of detail and precision on these pieces is really stunning, especially on the phaser (HA! Get it?!). If I could buy the plans and parts for these models I would do it in a vulcan heartbeat. You can see more images on Williamson’s Flickr page, and be sure to check out the promo video for the Tricorder for a neat surprise!
[Hat tip: @iconmaster for this post]